Friday, January 13, 2012

Next Week in Tickets: Films playing Boston 13 January 2012 - 19 January 2012

Ah, January. A month of dumping stuff that may be junk, expanding platform releases, and other curiosities.

  • Let's be optimistic and start with the expanding awards hopefuls. I'm surprised that The Weinstein Company's PR firm hasn't been added to my spam filter for all the crap they've been sending me about The Iron Lady over the past few weeks. Meryl Streep plays Margaret Thatcher (and Jim Broadbent her husband Denis); word has it that it's an impressive imitation but not a great movie, but a lot of the disdain I've seen has been of the "why are you making a movie about Thatcher? She's eeevil!" variety. It opens in Coolidge Corner, Fenway, Boston Common, and Kendall Square. Strangely, TWC hasn't been pestering me about The Artist the way they have their other films, but that expands to Fenway alongside Kendall Square and Boston Common.

    The other expanding platformer is Carnage, with Roman Polanski teaming with Yasmina Reza to adapt her play about two yuppie couple who meet to discuss trouble between their respective sons and wind up spending an hour or so sparring verbally. Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, and John C. Reilly star for the fugitive rapist; the movie plays in Kendall Square and Boston Common.

  • Contraband looks like the sort of action movie that gets pushed to January to avoid stronger competition. It's got Mark Wahlberg as a former master thief pulled back into the life, Kate Beckinsale as his wife, and Ben Foster and Giovanni Ribisi, as members of his crew and targets. It plays Somerville, Harvard Square, Boston Common, Fenway, and Fresh Pond.

    The other thing studios do to fill screens during these quiet months is re-releases; this week, after last fall's success with The Lion King, Disney brings back Beauty and the Beast in 3D. On the one hand, it's an all-time classic and has a new short with the characters from Tangled in front; on the other, the "dimensionalization" of The Lion King looked terrible and this one was done earlier and not considered good enough to release until The Lion King made a bunch of money. The closest place to see a 2D show is Showcase Cinemas in Revere, and that's only for the 11:20AM show. Closer to Boston, it plays in 3D only at the Capitol Theatre in Arlington, Boston Common, Fenway, and Fresh Pond.

    Where's that leave Joyful Noise, a comedy with Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah as rivals within their church choir whose grandson and daughter are naturally drawn to each other. You know, as much as this looks like a by-the-numbers thing, I kind of like the trailer and dig the idea of Parton and Latifah doing a movie together. It plays Fenway, Boston Common, and Fresh Pond.

  • The Brattle sticks with a single really cool series this week, Dead of Winter. That's seven days of haunted house films, kicking off in style on Friday with a preview of The Innkeepers and a rare 35mm print of locally-shot Fulci flick House by the Cemetery. Saturday features Robert Wise's original The Haunting and a late show of Japan's wonderfully insane Hausu. Double features start on Sunday with The Shining and Burnt Offerings, with 13 Ghosts and Beetlejuice on Monday, Ju-On: The Grudge and The Orphanage on Tuesday, and v1.0 of The Amityville Horror and Poltergeist on Wednesday and Thursday. As near as I can tell, all are in 35mm, although that may change depending on print availability and quality.

  • The big opening at the Coolidge is The Iron Lady, but they've got some nice special screenings planned this week as well. The biggest is probably the midnight shows of The Divide on Friday and Saturday; it's a pretty darn brutal post-apocalyptic horror movie from Xavier Gens with an against-type Michael Biehn as one of a group of survivors at each other's throats in a bomb shelter. In a twisted but cool thing to do, the filmmakers are tying its release to a canned food drive, and the first 50 people to bring a donation to Feeding America to the Friday show will get a spiffy limited-edition movie poster by comic artist Jock.

    There's also the monthly screening of The Room at midnight on Saturday, while the roughly-monthly Talk Cinema preview screening on Sunday morning is Declaration of War, an apt description for how a young French couple deal with their newborn child falling very ill.

  • The Museum of Fine Arts has a their last couple screenings of The Klezmatics: On Holy Ground on Friday and Saturday, and will also be running My Reincarnation, a documentary about a Tibetan Buddhist Monk and his western-born son, said to be a reincarnation of a great man but who opts to live a modern lfie. That's got single screenings on the 13th, 14th, 15th, 18th, and 19th (Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Wednesday/Thursday). They'll also be running a Film Shorts Showcase with work from young local filmmakers as part of their Martin Luther King Jr. Day Open House on Monday the 16th, once at 11am and once at 1pm, with the latter including Q&A with some of the filmmakers.

  • The Harvard Film Archive re-opens to the public this weekend with Dreileben, in which three German filmmakers have each created a film set against the backdrop of the hunt for an escaped murderer. Christian Petzold's Beats Being Dead plays Friday the 13th at 7pm and Saturday the 14th at 9pm, and focuses on the attraction between a hospital intern and an immigrant maid; Dominik Graf's Don't Follow Me Around plays Friday at 9pm and Saturday at 7pm and has a criminal psychiatrist discovering an unknown connection to the town; and Christoph Hochhäusler's One Minute of Darkness plays at 7pm on both Sunday the 15th and Monday the 16th, featuring the cat-and-mouse game between detective and killer. All three are on digital video and are only loosely connected, so they can be watched in any order.

  • The Regent Theatre in Arlington has a pair of specialty documentaries playing one night each. On Tuesday the 17th, Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged is an examination of the author and her best-known work; I'm guessing a sympathetic one or else it wouldn't use the word "prophecy". On Thursday the 19th, they play Splinters, which chronicles how surfing became popular and prestigious in Papua New Guinea in the past thirty years. As a bonus, "Tsunami of Sound" will perform some surf-inspired music.

  • Tamil and Telegu films take the Indian screen at Fresh Pond, and the iMovie Cafe site doesn't indicate any English subtitles. And while My Week with Marilyn has completed its run in Kendall Square, it opens for a second run at the Arlington Capitol.

My plans? As much as I'd love to stand on principle and avoid doing sot, I'll probably wind up seeing Beauty and the Beast in 3D because it is one of my all-time favorite movies. I've already got a ticket for Declaration of War as part of my subscription to Talk Cinema, so I'm there for that, and while I have every intention of doing some catch-up and Kendall Square before Chlotrudis nominations are due, the haunted house stuff at the Brattle is awesome. I also re-start Japanese classes on Saturday afternoon, so that's a big chunk of time taken out of my schedule for the next six weeks.

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